City Robotics – First-Stage Funding For a First-Rate Product
Cleaning robots showing up for duty, deployed to help with manual disinfection and sanitizing? It’s more than just a trend… they could actually help flatten the curve – or any curve for that matter – as most bacteria, viruses and other harmful microorganisms are likely to survive on surfaces for up to several days or longer.
City Robotics, an up-and-coming startup, know exactly how important it is to reduce the high risk of transmission and have created autonomous robot cleaners that share the load, and ensure safety for the larger public.
What’s even more praiseworthy is that their team has managed to materialize their forward-thinking idea from product concept to manufacturing in barely three months, connecting the dots from design to engineering. Protecting public health is paramount and it’s refreshing to see how remarkably City Robotics are contributing to that.
We sat down with City Robotics’ CEO and co-founder, Deepjyoti Nath, to talk about the startup and the recent €100K investment from Demium’s asset management company Think Bigger Capital.
Q: How would you describe your product and the real problem you are solving to a 5-year-old?
The biggest danger to human life is getting infected with bad bacteria or viruses. Sometimes our body fights it, but sometimes our body cannot fight it and we die. We are building a robot to kill those bad bacteria and viruses before they can infect you.
Q: What are the benefits for companies working with you and what distinguishes you from other similar solutions?
The biggest challenge for us is not to build the robot, because robots like this already exist. But they are all priced at more than $60,000. Only extremely rich and expensive hospitals can buy that. Now, we believe technology should be equally accessible for everyone, not just for the rich and privileged. Our biggest challenge is finding a way to bring that price down to a point that anyone can afford it and easily accessible to the masses, while providing the same quality and features.
We are able to do this by leveraging cutting edge technology. We are not reinventing the wheel, which most technology companies seem to get lost in.
Q: You recently raised €100K. What was it like raising a round for the first time?
Raising the first round went much smoother than we expected because of the incredible support we received from Demium, especially Mario and Eduardo. They walked us through the whole process.
Q: What will you focus your initial funding on?
We are utilising the fund for Research and Development mainly, to complete the first prototype and get market validation.
Q: What advice would you offer other entrepreneurs looking for first round funding?
Be very sure what you are raising for, it’s much easier to raise money if your metrics are right. Do you have customers ready to use your product? How excited are they to use your product? And the most important of all, are you solving a real problem for the user?
Q: How in practice has Demium helped you get to where you are?
Demium has helped us in more ways than I could imagine at the beginning.
The most important of all was “confidence” in us, Bart or Darek, from the incubation team at Poland, never stopped us from trying different things. They always told us what could be the consequences of doing something, but left the decision to us.
They provided us with one of the most valuable things for a hardware startup, “space”, we needed a lot of space for building it and they provided us with world-class office space to do it.
Third and a critical part, is the funding that we received to continue working on it. Prior to receiving the funding, we all were working 16 hours a day, the first 8 hours of working in a corporate office to pay the bills and then the rest 8 hours working on the robot. We worked on the weekends as well for the last 6 months. I don’t know for how much longer I could have managed to pull 16 hour days. Now we are able to dedicate our 16 hours working on the robot exclusively.
Q: Why did you decide to send your application to the Demium incubator?
I saw advertisements from Demium way before I actually decided to apply. The main reason why I didn’t apply at first is, I see entrepreneurship as not just creating any business, but to solve a real-world problem, a solution that will touch the lives of others and improve them. And at that time I didn’t have any specific problem in mind that I wanted to solve.
Then the whole world was struck with the pandemic and while doctors, nurses were fighting, I couldn’t just sit and watch. I knew that I had to do something and making a disinfection robot was the best possible way for us to help and also make sure that we are not stuck with another pandemic in the future.
Now, we knew what we wanted to do, but we also knew that we wouldn’t be able to do it alone. We needed professional support and I checked a few Startup Incubators, but Demium had the most experience and was the most successful, it was a no brainer, we only applied to Demium.